Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Law is Not Colorblind: A Conversation With Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist Nick Chiles About His New Book 'Justice While Black'

I would like to thank the folks who have donated to our annual fundraising drive. We are in the second week of the fundraiser and are inching closer to the goal for the year.

The podcast for chaunceydevega.com is a direct response to requests by the friends and fans of the site who wanted more content and an additional way to engage with the many topics we discuss here on We Are Respectable Negroes (WARN).

We are on the 3rd Season of the podcast now known as The Chauncey DeVega Show. With approximately 30 episodes--and now featuring much improved audio and soon to be on Itunes--the podcast series has featured a wonderful range of academics, activists, New York Times' best-selling authors, and folks from Hollywood and popular music.

The Chauncey DeVega Show requires many hours to produce. Season 3, like the two before it, will feature some great guests. For example, my conversation partner on the newest installment of the podcast recently appeared on C-SPAN 2 where he discussed his new book on race and the American justice system.

If you can and are able please do support We Are Respectable Negroes and Chaunceydevega.com by throwing some change into the virtual donation bucket. My kind requests--in what is a most gentle and soothing NPR-like fundraising voice--will cease once our goal is reached.
The police killer of Eric Garner is free. The police killer of Michael Brown is free. The police killer of 12-year-old Tamir Rice was a documented incompetent and a member of a racist Cleveland police department: he too is still free.

Even more grotesque--American police departments do not keep accurate documents noting how many people they actually kill in a given year. America may not have the "desaparecidos" of her Southern neighbors; yet, the allusion is a chilling one that hints at the power of bureaucracies to make people disappear into nothingness because the state deem acts of violence against those individuals to be "within the law".

In all, America's police are the primary means through which state violence is rendered on black and brown communities, as well as the poor.

What should a person of color do when they encounter the police? How can you ensure that you, your loved ones, friends, and community members best survive an encounter with the criminal justice system--what is the new Jim and Jane Crow?

In this, the fourth episode of Season Three, on the podcast known as The Chauncey DeVega Show, I had the great opportunity to chat with Pulitzer Prize-winning author and journalist Mr. Nick Chiles.

He is the author of the new book Justice While Black and current editor of the Atlanta Black Star newspaper.

Written with attorney Robbin Schipp, Nick's new book Justice While Black is both an excellent (as well as accessible) history of the racist origins of America's police system, and a invaluable step by step guide for how to navigate the entrapping maze that is the American legal system and the many ways that it can (and will) ruin the lives of those people it encounters.

In our conversation, Mr. Chiles summed up the crisis and conundrum that is when the colorline encounters the American legal system as follows: just because it is within your Constitutional rights to do a thing does not mean that a given cop will respect those rights.

In this episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show, Nick and I discuss what to do when a police officer stops you, how answering no more than the basic questions you are legally obligated to is the smart move, how families can cause chaos and trouble if you are arrested, the dangers of the plea bargain, the foolish hysteria around common sense "black respectability politics", tales of black lives ruined by the system, and if he watches "crime porn" such as The First 48 television show.

Nick also clears up some of Chauncey DeVega's misconceptions about what he should do if the police demand to search his car.

This episode of The Chauncey DeVega Show can be listened to at the below link.

It can also be "watched" on Chauncey DeVega and We Are Respectable Negroes' Youtube channel:

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Justin M. White said...

Just finished the interview. Great stuff. Looking forward to ancient aliens and Afrocentrism. I had a friend on Tumblr asking for help with her father, who didn't accept the evidence for anthropogenic climate change, and believed that ancient aliens built the pyramids. I passed along what I could on the climate change front but I haven't listened to a lot of debunking of ancient aliens claims so that I can refer someone to the most succinct/accessible resources for someone convinced of it.

kokanee said...

Great episode! I'm all caught up with the podcasts too. Brother Chiles was excellent! Speaking of chiles, I just ordered spicy chocolates from Cowgirl Chocolates. Yum! Free shipping with code happyday14 today and tomorrow. {I hope that doesn't count as advertising. I'm not affiliated - honest!}

kokanee said...

Neil deGrasse Tyson tweeted, "Just because you can't figure out how ancient civilizations built stuff, doesn't mean they got help from Aliens." 13,000+ retweets and 17,000+ likes.

Re: "but I haven't listened to a lot of debunking of ancient aliens claims so
that I can refer someone to the most succinct/accessible resources for
someone convinced of it."

Debunking not required. The onus for anyone who believe in aliens, fairies, leprechauns, witches, demons or whatever is on him or her to prove it. They say you can't prove a negative. Don't fall for that trap.

Justin M. White said...

True, and having gone thorugh the entire religious deconversion experience I'm aware of the burden of proof. But the ancient aliens theories play on ignorance of the facts about the past--you can't reasonably expect someone who buys into it to go and gather critical evidence to support their case. All they're usually doing is reciting something they saw on the History Channel or some other such garbage.

All a "debunk" really needs is to show two things: 1) that the claims made in favor for an outlandish theory are inaccurate, and 2) to show how those inaccuracies are actually the facts that point to the historical truth. The first is the most important because it slices through the "facts" they thought they had, and unlike in religious situations, they're usually not so emotionally committed to the idea that they'll start retreating into epistemological closure (this is when they might start demanding you prove a negative). Now of course if I find an accessible resource and the person refuses to even look it at, then yeah, that conversation is over.

Paul Breines said...

Finished listening to your sharp and vital interview with Nick Chiles, and am wondering when white NBA players will wear an "I can't breathe, either!" t-shirt in a pre-game warm up? Tomorrow? Later this week? Never? It would be sweet, wouldn't it?

kokanee said...

Got ya. And thanks. How about:
< a href="http://youtu.be/_pLz93g-ux8">Ancient Aliens Debuned

Justin M. White said...

Thanks. I started watching that, I'll need to finish it up soon and pass it along.

Miles_Ellison said...

What's truly sad is that's the default position for explaining any remarkable thing that white people had nothing to do with. Racism steers people toward ridiculous ideas, which is why every biblical epic about the Old Testament features a bunch of white Heavy Metal guitarists with English accents, every movie about Jesus has a lead that looks like Ted Nugent from the '78 tour, and people actually get indignant when you point the absurdity of such things out. Or play the "PC" card when someone points out that people in that part of the world look nothing like Charlton Heston, Christian Bale, or Russell Crowe.

chauncey devega said...

Thank you. I really learned a ton from Nick. His C-SPAN interview w. his co-author is great too. If this was helpful, you will really learn from that conversation.

The next conversation was so much fun. I am an Art Bell Coast to Coast AM devotee. I have many "unconventional" beliefs. But ancient alien BS is not one of them. Jonathan is a real pro. Check out his website.

chauncey devega said...

That is the trick. They flip the script so that the assumption is on folks who don't believe in ancient alien b.s. to prove that the possibility cannot exist.

Parlor magic.

More generally, what are your thoughts on Season 3 so far? Going well? Improved from before? Finding the talks satisfying?

chauncey devega said...

I hear you. But white folks aren't the only ones who believe foolish things. Jonathan and I get into Afrotopian myth making in some detail. The power dynamic is different; foolish thinking remains foolishness either way.

chauncey devega said...

Nice to hear your thoughts. I owe you an email--I had a good amount of dental work done these past weeks and Valium, codeine, and other things don't mix too well for me :)

Next week, the podcast guest is Mr. Tim Wise. He and I just chatted after his appearance on CNN Headline News. He and I talk about the NBA and Eric Garner. You are ahead of me. Where are the white NBA players on this issue?

chauncey devega said...

If it is good, share, and they will come. No shame here!

kokanee said...

Season 3 is more than satisfying as well as previous seasons. Remember I found you from when you were interviewed by Joshua Holland on the Alternet Radio Hour. I'd love it if you could dig it up and add it to the youtube channel. This might sound funny coming from me but what I think we should be doing is highlighting more outstanding brothers and sisters from the community. No offense to white people everywhere.

Myshkin the Idiot said...

PROOF! That the liberal agenda want to silence the whites!


kokanee said...

Ha ha!

Justin M. White said...

I just finished Nell Irvin Painter's The History of White People. Some of the racial theories white people came up with to link themselves to the ancient past were ridiculous (e.g. Jesus wasn't Semitic, Greeks somehow emigrated to Britain, Saxons never interbred with local English until the late middle ages). It was a fascinating book even though she cited two really bad sources when discussing 17th century white bound labor, which surprised me. Must have been grad assistant work or something.

Courtney H. said...

Good podcast! I really enjoyed listening to it yesterday. Thank you for posting it.

SW said...

As hard as it may seem to believe in light of the recent no-bills, our best recourse for police impropriety is through the courts. You will absolutely not win pulled over in your Honda, on the side of some dark road. Facilitate a speedy end to the police encounter, then get a lawyer.